One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common type of cancer. Fortunately, when caught early, the majority of skin cancers are easily treated and have a high survival rate.
In this blog post, we review the diagnosis and treatment of squamous cell carcinoma.
What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that arise in the squamous cells, which compose most of the skin’s upper layers. SCC can also occur in other areas of the body such as the mouth, esophagus or lungs.
Common areas for SCC include:
The rim of the ear
The face, scalp, lips and mouth
The back of the hands
What is squamous cell carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. This type of skin cancer usually appears as a hard bump on the skin, which may be red and scaly. Squamous cell carcinoma may spread to other parts of the body.
What are the treatment options?
Surgery is the main treatment for squamous cell carcinoma. It removes the visible tumor and any nearby tissue that appears normal, but may contain cancer cells. If the tumor is small, it can be removed with a scalpel or laser surgery. If squamous cell carcinoma covers a large area, it may be treated with surgery to remove the affected skin and graft new skin onto the area. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be used to treat squamous cell carcinoma that has spread beyond its original site.
What is Mohs’ micrographic surgery?
Mohs’ micrographic surgery is a procedure that allows surgeons to remove thin layers of cancer-containing skin one layer at a time, followed by immediate examination of these layers under a microscope to determine if any cancer remains. This procedure continues until all of the visible cancer has been removed and an adequate margin of normal tissue has been left around the tumor site
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. It is a malignant tumor that forms in the squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that make up the outermost part of the skin’s epidermis (the top layer of the skin).
Squamous cell carcinoma does not usually metastasize (spread to other parts of the body), but if left untreated, it can penetrate deep into tissue and cause extensive damage. It can also spread to lymph nodes.
Squamous cell carcinoma is known as a keratinocyte cancer, which means it develops from keratinocytes — the predominant cell type found in the epidermis. Keratinocytes produce keratin, a tough protein that helps protect skin from infection and other damaging agents.
In addition to being found on sun-exposed areas of the skin, squamous cell carcinomas can develop on mucous membranes (such as inside the mouth), on scars or chronic ulcers, and in burns or other chronic wounds.
While squamous cell carcinoma can occur anywhere on the body, it most often appears on areas that get regular sun exposure: face, ears, neck, lips, and backs of hands. This type of cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer that begins in the squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that form the surface of the skin. Squamous cells are also found in several other organs and tissues, including the mouth, esophagus and lungs.
SCC is the second most common kind of skin cancer. It usually appears as a firm red nodule on sun-exposed skin like the ears, face, lips and back of hands. The nodule may be tender or scaly and can bleed with minor injury.
A precursor to SCC is actinic keratosis (AK), commonly called solar keratosis. AKs are rough, red or brown scaly patches on areas regularly exposed to sunlight. They vary in size from 1 millimeter to several centimeters in diameter. The first time many people learn they have AKs is when their dermatologist finds them during a routine skin examination.
If they’re not treated, AKs can progress to SCC over time. Even if you don’t have AKs yet, this process can begin if you continue getting too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure from sunlight or tanning beds, so it’s important to protect your skin from excessive UV exposure by
Skin Cancer Facts
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.
As many as 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people each year.1
The estimated numbers of new cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer (keratinocyte carcinomas) in the United States in 2018 are as follows: basal cell carcinoma: 4,260,000 squamous cell carcinoma: 1,080,000 basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma combined: 5,340,0002
The number of people who have had squamous cell carcinoma at some point in their lives is approximately 2 million.1
In 2018, there were 87,110 new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed.2
In 2018, an estimated 9,320 people died from melanoma skin cancer.2
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer. Skin cancer is caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds. SCC begins in the outer layer of cells (the epidermis), and can spread to other tissues (metastasize).
Most cases of skin cancer are preventable. A little preventive care goes a long way. Follow these steps to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer:
· Avoid indoor and outdoor tanning, and avoid other sources of UV light.
· Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that protects against UVA and UVB rays every day, even when it’s cloudy outside. Reapply every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating.
· Wear protective clothing and cover up whenever possible.
· Check your skin regularly for changes
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is a relatively common cancer. It is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising from the squamous cells in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.
The most important risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) light, primarily from sunlight and tanning beds. People who burn easily, or have fair skin, red or blond hair, and blue or green eyes are at higher risk for this cancer. Other risk factors include:
Advanced age: Skin cancer is most common in people over age 50, but it can occur in younger people as well
Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop squamous cell carcinoma
Chronic wounds, infections, and irritation (sores that do not heal)
Exposure to certain chemicals: Tar and paraffin (used in industry), oils and grease (used by mechanics), arsenic (used as a pesticide), coal products, and some industrial solvents
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
Weakened immune system: Having an organ transplant increases the risk for developing skin cancer